Hints and Tips. ( Part 2.)
British camping gas comes in portable metal ´bottles ´ either painted red or blue, the gas in the red bottle
will work at a lower temperature than that of the gas in the blue bottle. If you plan on camping through
a UK winter for instance buy the gas in the red bottle it does not freeze up as quickly as the blue.
Portable bottles are exchanged for a full one at a dealer when empty, but not at a cheap price compared
with another system which I will also explain.
Bottles used in the UK are often not interchangable with bottles of gas in Europe and to the best of our
knowledge there are only 2 or 3 places where you can have British bottles refilled and they are in
Portugal. The result of the above is that campers new to foreign travel find themselves having to purchase
a new bottle of gas and regulator in whichever country they are in and again it may be the next time they
run out of gas in another country a new bottle and regulator will have to be purchased again. We have met
folks who were carrying 3 different bottles and regulators. It is now possible to purchase refillable
portable gas bottles which can be filled at an LPG outlet at a cost of at least half of that of the buying a
bottle from a dealer. Unfortunately, for reasons which in many people´s thoughts are suspect, in 2007 the
UK government decided that it is to dangerous to allow those bottles to be refilled at a Filling Station,
yet it is legal to refill a tank with an exceedingly dangerous liquid in exactly the same way at the said
station, Petrol. An LPG tank/bottle can be fixed permanently to a vehicle with an outlet for filling at a
pump making it legal and depending on the size can last for months of travel. The expense of fitting has
to be put against use and convenience, which in our case we found to be to our advantage as we carried
three small adapters which allowed us to use LPG pumps across most of Europe. LPG is known also as GPL
in some European countries.
Most motorhomes have a fresh water tank which is normally filled from the outside of the vehicle and the water is pumped to the taps on demand. Now some owners prefer to fill up the water tank before moving off, but consider that 100 litres of water weighs nearly 100 kgs (approx. 220lbs) that is the equivalant of carrying an extra two passengers. The price fuel is at why waste it carrying a load that is unnecessary unless you intend not to use campsites and free camp instead. Another point is that in the
case of many motorhomes that 100 kgs will affect the amount of payload you can carry, in other words take 100 kgs off a 300kg payload and you are down to 200kg.
In the UK specifications a motorhome built there should have had a full tank of water taken into
consideration and therefore will not affect the vehicle payload, but from experience that may not be so
with one built abroad. Now filling up with water can be a chore if you cannot reach the water tap with a
hose (make sure it is a food safe one ) and we often see people to and fro-ing to the water point with a watering can, which may be 1 or 2 gallons, that is a lot of carrying if you are filling up a 100 litre tank.
Many motorhomes have the water entry point almost at shoulder height, which I am sure is one reason for the watering can, but we bought a 5 gallon polythene water carrier from a ship´s Chandler and when necessary I fill it, but use a folding trolley to cart it from tap to vehicle where with a length of food safe tubing it is transferred using a 12 volt submersible water pump such as used in caravans. Remember you don´t need to spend a lot of money on such a pump just to lift water 4 or 5 feet. Caravaners often use roll water tanks which they can push or pull but I found that the rectangular shape of the water carrier fitted in better for storage in our van.
Holidays or Full Timing.
Using your motorhome for a 2 week holiday plus the odd weekend does not put the same pressure on a unit
as extended time away, such as 3 or 4 months or indeed living in it full time most of the year. The amount
of gear you carry is considerably more normally on extended trips compared to the yearly 2 week holiday
and as such you should consider this at time of purchase, because living in a relatively small space over a
long period of time makes more use of equipment and furnishings. After 1 year of full time living in our
Rimor we ended up replacing the seat cushions as the original foam no longer supported us and we bought
denser foam to replace it, but this added 20 kilos which of course came off the payload. Another point is to ask the dealer if the foam is fire retardent and check for labels as it is illegal to sell non retardent treated foam in the UK
Do keep in mind that everything you add to the vehicle will affect the MPTLM ( used to be called the GVW..Goods Vehicle Weight ) and it is very easy to overload the vehicle without realising it.
Kitchen equipment, do you really need a Microwave ?, good quality Melamine plates etc are a lot lighter than the plates you use at home. Pots and pans we cut down on the number we carried and bought the type usable on gas or electric, whilst our electric kettle is 860W plastic type.